March 31, 2004

Leviton and Telkonet form partnership

Leviton Integrated Networks and Telkonet, a developer of commercial powerline communications, have joined to market and sell products based on Telkonet’s powerline carrier technology.

The companies will initially focus on retrofit products for high-speed Internet connectivity in the hospitality and multi-family dwelling unit markets. They’re aiming to provide custom-engineered OEM services through select Internet service providers.

March 30, 2004

AGC reacts to steel shortage

The Board of Directors of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently adopted a resolution to seek “equitable adjustment of fixed-price contracts” to compensate contractors for the recent rise in steel prices. The organization says the crisis may result in job losses, bankruptcies, and public hazards.

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) administrator Mary Peters told AGC that FHWA would allow states to include steel-price adjustment clauses in construction contracts for federal-aid highway projects.

Stephen E. Sandherr, ACG chief executive officer, urges others to follow in FHWA’s footsteps. “We hope other federal agencies, state and local entities, and private owners will take note and act appropriately,” Sandherr says. “Many contractors are already facing severe financial problems because of the enormous increases in steel prices and delays in deliveries that are jeopardizing completion of major projects.”

March 29, 2004

Graybar to co-host electrical safety seminar

To kick off National Electrical Safety month, Graybar will team up with Cooper Bussmann and WH Salisbury to host an electrical safety presentation on Tuesday, May 11 at several of the company’s nationwide locations. The seminars will cover the serious safety hazards associated with accidental exposure to electrical energy and educate workers on the prevention of electrocution.

Electrical safety experts from Cooper Bussman and WH Salisbury will discuss safety standards, new OSHA regulations, personal protection equipment, and provide updates on NEC regulations and changes to NFPA 70E.

To make a reservation, call 1-800-GRAYBAR to reach your nearest Graybar location.

March 26, 2004

NECA opposes the use of the IRC

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has submitted three code-change proposals to the New York Division of Code Enforcement and Administration, recommending that New York’s building codes use the current National Electric Code (NEC) and delete all chapters of the International Residential Code (IRC). The proposals were made on behalf of The Electrical Coalition.

Brook Stauffer, executive director of standards and safety for NECA, says the IRC has serious problems. “The NEC is our nation’s wiring rules, and probably the world’s most widely-used safety document,” she says. “Meanwhile, the IRC is an incomplete, non-consensus publication written by an association of non-electrical building officials.”

NECA points out that the IRC doesn’t have wiring rules for common residential electrical equipment like air conditioners, electric heat, and communications wiring. The group says that using the IRC will cause confusion and construction delays, since the majority of workers on building projects are trained and familiar with the NEC.

March 25, 2004

Nexstar creates seal of approval

Nexstar is launching an accreditation program called Select Service to help homeowners and businesses find service providers. Nexstar members can qualify for this program to promote their business.

The company created the program to improve the level of customer service provided by electrical, HVAC, and plumbing contractors. Candidates will have to go through an extensive certification process. First, they must be in good standing. Then they must complete and score in the upper 50% of three annual surveys that cover customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and financial condition.

Candidates must also follow Nexstar’s code of ethics, service model, financial break even guidelines, up-front pricing practices, training program, and have documentation of all customer communications.

March 24, 2004

Kyocera Solar to work with OutBack Power Systems to distribute power systems

Kyocera Solar is collaborating with OutBack Power Systems, a manufacturer of inverters, to produce and distribute power systems and components. The company will be distributing the OutBack Power System, a pre-wired, pre-assembled, ready-to-install system that includes power conditioning, monitoring, and safety disconnects for power sources like solar electric modules.

The Outback Power System is Electrical Testing Lab (ETL)-listed. In order to become a distributor, Kyocera Solar acquired ETL certification.

March 23, 2004

NFPA consolidates meetings

Beginning in 2005, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will combine its two annual meetings into one conference. At the organization’s regular meeting this month, the board of directors voted to combine the Fall Educational Conference with the World Safety Conference and Exposition (WSCE), also known as the “annual meeting.”

The association made the decision after members started raising concerns about attending two conferences, given demanding work and family schedules. The NFPA also voted to move the annual meeting month from May to June for more flexibility in scheduling sites and to allow for more review time for the codes and standards-making process.

However, this year’s conferences will remain separate events. The WSCE will take place May 23-26 in Salt Lake City and the Fall Educational Conference will be held November 13-17 in Miami Beach.

For more information on attending, visit www.nfpa.org.

March 22, 2004

Sea Gull Lighting Products receives Energy Star award

Sea Gull Lighting Products has received an Energy Star Partner of the Year Award. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) handed out the awards on March 2 to recognize energy-efficient investments made by Energy Star partners.

The company was one of 57 organizations recognized for its efforts toward the development, distribution, and sale of environmentally friendly products. The EPA and DOE selected this year’s recipients from more than 8,000 Energy Star partners.

March 19, 2004

ABC recognizes solid safety practices

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has recognized a select group of merit shop construction firms for demonstrating a commitment to safety. ABC presented the awards during its national convention on Feb. 27 in Honolulu.

The winners, selected from ABC-member firms, achieved Platinum status in the organization’s Safety Training and Evaluation Process program. The organization based its decision on each member’s self-evaluation scores, lost workday case rates, and total recordable rates. Winners fell in to one of three Standard Industrial Classification code categories: SIC 15-General Construction, SIC 16-Heavy and Industrial Construction, or SIC 17-Specialty Construction.

For a full list of winners, visit ABC's Web site.

March 18, 2004

Schneider Electric launches a validatable PLC service

Schneider Electric has introduced its Validatable PLC service for pharmaceutical and other critical process industries. This service will allow customers to update their legacy systems without revalidation to a new Modicon PLC platform that complies with current FDA regulations and manufacturing quality processes standards.

The PLC enables I/O cards that were installed as long as 30 years ago to be connected with the newest automation technologies. It preserves customer investments in system validation while upgrading processors, I/O, and other components of process automation systems.

March 17, 2004

NALMCO publishes new lighting guide

The International Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) is offering a new lighting guide published by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America titled, “IESNA/NALMCO Recommended Practice for Planned Indoor Lighting Maintenance.” The 34-page publication is geared toward lighting designers, architects, and other construction and building operation professionals.

The guide includes the results of a three-year study that suggests the amount of dust and dirt on popular lighting fixtures has been overestimated, resulting in spaces being over-lit to compensate for light loss. The study concludes that existing buildings can reduce light output and new buildings can install fewer light fixtures to cut costs and save energy.

Readers will also find information on maintenance methods, materials to reduce labor costs, lamp and ballast disposal, procedures, how to use maintenance support energy management strategies, and a troubleshooting guide in the publication.

To order a copy of the guide, visit the NALMCO Web site.

March 16, 2004

Infrared Solutions launches new Web site

Infrared Solutions has a new Web site, www.infraredsolutions.com. The new site focuses on educating current and potential customers on the products and their applications by featuring more detailed information on all the company’s cameras and software.

Users can browse a library of applications and technology case studies, and download sample images, thermal analysis sample reports, and live-action product demonstrations.

March 15, 2004

Super Vision issues $10.5 million lawsuit against competition

Super Vision International, a Florida-based manufacturer of fiber optic and LED lighting, has filed a lawsuit in excess of $10.5 million against Color Kinetics, Boston. The company is seeking royalties and damages, claiming that Color Kinetics violated U.S. Patent #4,963,687 on “variable color lighting systems.”

Inventor Richard Beliveau originally developed the patent for High End Systems. Super Vision then obtained the patent from the company, stating that it was a necessary step in the continuation of the development of its color-changing LEDs. The patent covers the use of networked, centrally controlled, addressable color-changing lighting systems that incorporate pulse width modulation and variable digital control circuitry that can vary the intensity of individual lamp elements to generate unlimited colors.

Color Kinetics denies the merit of the lawsuit, saying Super Vision’s allegation of infringement is based on an incandescent lighting patent that is unrelated to LED-based lighting systems. In addition, Color Kinetics filed litigation in June 2002, claiming Super Vision infringed numerous Color Kinetics patents.

March 12, 2004

Milwaukee Electric Tool turns 80

Milwaukee Electric Tool is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The company has been making its signature red power tools since 1924.

A.F. Siebert founded the company in Milwaukee, with the Hole Shooter, the first portable, one-handed 0.25-in capacity drill. It went on to create the Right-Angle drill in 1949, the Sawzall self-contained portable electric hacksaw in 1951, and the high-torque Hole-Hawg in 1970.

Today the company manufacturers more than 500 power tools and 3,500 accessories.

March 11, 2004

January construction put-in-place values up from previous year

January’s construction-put-in-place value was a seasonally adjusted rate of $931 billion, according to the Census Bureau. This number is down 0.3% compared to December 2003’s record $934 billion, but up 5.4% from January 2003.

As far as individual sectors are concerned, private nonresidential construction fell 1.7% from the December and 1.5% from January 2003. Public construction was 0.2% higher than in December and less than 0.1% below the January 2003 level. Private residential construction was even with December, but up 11.4% from January 2003.

March 10, 2004

Westinghouse Lighting gains Radiant Lamp Co.

Westinghouse Lighting has acquired Radiant Lamp Co. from Philips Lighting. The company’s line of differentiated light bulbs will now be distributed through Westinghouse’s four national distribution facilities.

In addition to the acquisition, the company plans to expand the product line to include incandescent, halogen, HID, and other energy-efficient lamps. Some positions will transfer over to the new company including Hank Bachman, former director of Radiant Lamp, who will serve as managing director of the new division. Members of the current sales management team will also retain their positions under the new company.

March 9, 2004

Leviton offers product line geared towards the entertainment industry

Leviton has combined its entertainment lighting and industrial wiring markets to create a group of products for places like convention centers, auditoriums, fair grounds, stadiums, and amusement parks. The full line of products comprises theatrical lighting control systems, and IEC-, NEMA-, and OSHA-compliant electrical connection products.

This line includes stage pin and cam-style connectors, pin-and-sleeve devices; NEMA straight blade plugs, receptacles, and connectors; plug and connectors; portable power centers and power chords; and GFCI devices. The manufacturer is also debuting ECT stage pin devices in the line. These 20A, 60A, and 100A pin devices feature a slit in the male pin for spring action, and they’re intermateable with competitive pin-type products.

March 8, 2004

ABC puts on National Craft Championships

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently held its 17th annual National Craft Championships competition. More than 100 competitors demonstrated their skills Feb. 25-29 in Honolulu.

Participants who qualified or won at the regional level first took a three-hour written exam, then competed in building projects in one of 10 craft areas. In the electrical category, the gold medal went to Donald Wagner, Bergelectric Corp; the silver was awarded to Brad Woolley, Buschur Electric; and the bronze went to Michael Thill, Hills Wiring.

March 5, 2004

McGill launches updated Web site

McGill has redesigned its Web site, www.mcgillelectrical.com, to include features like online ordering and an electronic catalog that allows users to view product specifications and cross-reference competitive products.

The new site also includes a distributor locator, new product announcements, the company’s newsletter, and product promotions.

March 4, 2004

Metabo offers three-year warranty

Metabo is now offering the a 3-year warranty on the company’s complete range of power tools purchased after April 1, 2004. The warranty covers any defects in materials or workmanship from the date of purchase.

Warranty claims can be made by returning the tool to the nearest authorized Metabo dealer. This service is provided for free to customers who register their product online at www.metabo.com/xxl within four weeks of purchase.

March 3, 2004

Managers gain an ally for evaluating inventory

Littelfuse is offering a way for inventory managers at industrial manufacturing facilities to evaluate their inventory. The Material Reduction Opportunity (MRO) Plus computer program analyzes on-hand inventory and provides users with a report that identifies duplicate parts from different manufacturers and old or obsolete products.

Users supply the manufacturer with a bill of material or an inventory list in Excel format, and MRO Plus will evaluate the inventory. The program can generate bar-coded labels for storage bins and inventory cribs that can contain the user’s internal part number, storage location, product information, and competitive cross-reference information. For more information visit, www.littelfuse.com.

March 2, 2004

IEEE starts work on new standard

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has approved the start of a new standard project IEEE P519.1, “Guide for Applying Harmonic Limits on Power Systems.” The standard will help utilities and building owners develop and execute harmonic limits within electric power systems.

The standard will provide application examples and procedures for controlling harmonics on power systems, as well as recommend limits for customer harmonic injection and overall power system harmonic levels.

The IEEE-SA also approved the revised standard for power distribution reliability indices, the start of revision projects to four power standards, and reaffirmed the continuation of five exiting standards.

March 1, 2004

Universal Security Instruments to resume GFCI unit shipments

Universal Security Instruments will resume the shipment of its ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) units, manufactured by Shanghai Meihao Electric, this April. The company stopped shipment in August 2003 after Underwriters Labratories (UL) identified the units as potentially hazardous.

The company reported that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reviewed the UL’s concerns and test results of the GFCI units, and closed the case without recommending a recall. UL stated that its previous concerns have been resolved, and has approved the units for listing and sale.